I hear the voice of my Beloved

“Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.” Song 2:10

Lo, I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! Fair weather is smiling upon the face of the earth, and He would not have me spiritually asleep while nature is all around me awaking from her winter’s rest. He bids me “Rise up,” and well He may, for I have long enough been lying among the pots of worldliness. He is risen, I am risen in Him, why then should I cleave unto the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I would rise towards Him. He calls me by the sweet title of “My love,” and counts me fair; this is a good argument for my rising.

If He has thus exalted me, and thinks me thus comely, how can I linger in the tents of Kedar and find congenial associates among the sons of men? He bids me “Come away.” Further and further from everything selfish, grovelling, worldly, sinful, He calls me; yea, from the outwardly religious world which knows Him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the higher life, He calls me. “Come away” has no harsh sound in it to my ear, for what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin? O my Lord, would that I could come away, but I am taken among the thorns, and cannot escape from them as I would. I would, if it were possible, have neither eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin.

Thou callest me to Thyself by saying “Come away,” and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me. Thy grace can do it. Send forth Thy Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away.

In the midst of the throne… stood a Lamb

“Lo, in the midst of the throne… stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” Revelation 5:6

Why should our exalted Lord appear in His wounds in glory? The wounds of Jesus are His glories, His jewels, His sacred ornaments. To the eye of the believer, Jesus is passing fair because He is “white and ruddy” white with innocence, and ruddy with His own blood. We see Him as the lily of matchless purity, and as the rose crimsoned with His own gore. Christ is lovely upon Olivet and Tabor, and by the sea, but oh! there never was such a matchless Christ as He that did hang upon the cross.

There we beheld all His beauties in perfection, all His attributes developed, all His love drawn out, all His character expressed. Beloved, the wounds of Jesus are far more fair in our eyes than all the splendour and pomp of kings. The thorny crown is more than an imperial diadem. It is true that He bears not now the sceptre of reed, but there was a glory in it that never flashed from sceptre of gold. Jesus wears the appearance of a slain Lamb as His court dress in which He wooed our souls, and redeemed them by His complete atonement. Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are the trophies of His love and of His victory. He has divided the spoil with the strong.

He has redeemed for Himself a great multitude whom no man can number, and these scars are the memorials of the fight. Ah! if Christ thus loves to retain the thought of His sufferings for His people, how precious should his wounds be to us!

“Behold how every wound of His
A precious balm distils,
Which heals the scars that sin had made,
And cures all mortal ills.

“Those wounds are mouths that preach His grace;
The ensigns of His love;
The seals of our expected bliss
In paradise above.”

Without Form and Void

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.” (Jeremiah 4:23)

The language in this verse is clearly patterned after Genesis 1:2, the description of the primordial earth: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” That it is a metaphor, however, and not an actual reference to that primordial earth is evident from its context. The previous verse speaks of “my people” (that is, the people of Judah) and the following verse of “the mountains” (there were no mountains as yet at the time of Genesis 1:2).

Furthermore, the broader context makes it plain that the prophet is speaking of a coming judgment on the land of Judah because of the rebellion of its people against their God (verse 16 specifically mentions Judah, and verse 31 mentions Zion). The land is to be so devastated that the prophet compared its future appearance to the unformed and barren earth at its very beginning.

This ultimate fulfillment will be at Armageddon. The same Hebrew words (tohu for “without form,” and bohu for “void”) occur again in this context in an awesome scene of judgment described by Isaiah: “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations” (34:2), gathered together in the former land of Edom to fight against Jerusalem when Christ returns, “and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion |i.e., tohu|, and the stones of emptiness |i.e., bohu|” (34:11). Instead of the regular surveyor’s line and markers ordering the property boundaries, God’s judgment will bring such disorder and barrenness to the land that it almost will seem to revert back to its primeval state at the beginning of time. “Nevertheless we, . . . look for new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13), and that earth will be beautiful and bountiful with “no night there” (Revelation 22:5). HMM

Emblems of the Holy Spirit

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.” (Matthew 3:16)

There are several beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. The first is that of the dove, here mentioned in the very first New Testament reference to the Spirit. It was the dove, of course, that first assured Noah that the earth had risen out of the death waters of the great Flood, just as Christ now rose up out of the baptismal waters to receive the dove-like Spirit.

The water itself is also an emblem of the Spirit in its cleansing efficacy and life-sustaining virtue. Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This could also be translated “born of water, even the Spirit.” When He promised “rivers of living water” to those who believed on Him, “this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive” (John 7:38-39).

Then, there is the wind: sometimes a gentle breeze, sometimes a mighty hurricane, and this also symbolizes the Holy Spirit. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh. . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16). The Holy Spirit is God; “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). The Spirit of God is a gentle dove and living water; He is the blowing wind, and a consuming fire; He is our “Comforter” (John 14:26), “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), and “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2).

HMM

Changes and chances of this life

“Lo, I am with you all the appointed days.” (Matt. 28:20.) (Variorum Version.)

DO not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear. Rather look at them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto; do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be ax peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.—Frances de Sales.

“The Lord is my shepherd.”

Not was, not may be, nor wilt be. “The Lord is my shepherd,” is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and, is in war; in abundance, and in penury.—J. Hudson
Taylor.

HE will silently plan for thee,
Object thou of omniscient care;
God Himself undertakes to be
Thy Pilot through each subtle snare.

He WILL silently plan for thee,
So certainly, He cannot fail!
Best on the faithfulness of God,
In Him thou surely shalt prevail.

He will SILENTLY plan for thee
Some wonderful surprise of love.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,
But it is kept for thee above.

He will silently PLAN for thee,
His purposes shall all unfold;
The tangled skein shall shine at last,
A masterpiece of skill untold.

He will silently plan FOR THEE,
Happy child of a Father’s care,
As though no other claimed His love,
But thou alone to Him wert dear.

—E. Mary Grimes.

Whatever our faith says God is, He will be.